Friday 22 March 2019

Kensington Palace introduces new social media guidelines after wave of harassment against Meghan and Kate

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visits the Moroccan Royal Federation of Equitation Sports on February 25, 2019 in Rabat, Morocco. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are on a three day visit to the country. (Photo by Hannah Mckay - Pool / Getty Images)
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visits the Moroccan Royal Federation of Equitation Sports on February 25, 2019 in Rabat, Morocco. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are on a three day visit to the country. (Photo by Hannah Mckay - Pool / Getty Images)
Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive for a visit at a cooking demonstration, where children from under-privileged backgrounds learn traditional Moroccan recipes, at the Villa des Ambassadors in Rabat, Morocco, February 25, 2019. Tim P. Whitby/Pool via REUTERS
Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge greets wellwishers as she arrives in Ballymena, Northern Ireland on February 28, 2019. (Photo by Paul FAITH / AFP)
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

Kensington Palace has released new guidelines when dealing with their pages across social media in response to the trolling targeted at Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle.

The British royal family runs accounts for Kensington Palace, Clarence House and under The Royal Family on Twitter and Instagram and in recent months, the pages have become something of a hotbed for abusive criticism, particularly targeted at both duchesses. In recent months, fans of both the Duchess of Cambridge and Duchess of Sussex have adopted an earnest 'Team Meghan' or 'Team Kate' mentality and warring factions often take it out on one another in the comments section, causing distress for palace employees who spend hours daily trying to monitor the activity.

On Tuesday, they released new rules for their social pages in order to allow "our community can engage safely in debate and is free to make comments, questions and suggestions."

"We ask that anyone engaging with our social media channels shows courtesy, kindness and respect for all other members of our social media communities," a statement reads.

They said that users must not be "defamatory of any person, offensive, threatening, abusive or hateful" and may not "promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age." They will now delete offensive comments and block users who don't obey the rules. It's also reported they will report any physical threats to the authorities.

"Our social media accounts have grown considerably over the last few years and now attract thousands of comments every week," a Buckingham Palace spokesperson told Vogue.

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge greets wellwishers as she arrives in Ballymena, Northern Ireland on February 28, 2019. (Photo by Paul FAITH / AFP)
Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge greets wellwishers as she arrives in Ballymena, Northern Ireland on February 28, 2019. (Photo by Paul FAITH / AFP)

"Sadly, the growth also means that our accounts now attract some comments that are highly inappropriate or threatening – most often towards other commentators. We entirely respect criticism, but obviously threats and harassment are not appropriate. These guidelines are being published to set out transparently what is and is not acceptable."

They didn't mention any royal in particular, but a significant amount of online hate is targeted at Meghan and the new guidelines echo Prince Harry's now-famous statement he issued in 2016 in defence of his then-girlfriend. The statement read: "His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment. Some of this has been very public - the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments."

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